By Ian Clements
In his The Law (In Plain English) For Photographers
, author and attorney Leonard Duboff discusses various points of law as it applies to photographers.
I would like to point out (as does the author) that this book is not a substitute for an attorney. However, the book does give enough guidance that the reader will be familiar with the concepts of law. Remember that the law may differ from state to state and your best advice is to seek legal council should you need it.
The book features chapters on Intellectual Property (often referred to as ‘IP’), The Rights Of Privacy and Publicity and Organizing As A Business. As the title implies, each subject is explained clearly and in language most people can understand. For example, Duboff explains that a Copyright is actually five exclusive rights. They are
* The right to reproduce the work
* The right to prepare derivative works
* The right to distribution
* The right to perform the work
* The right to display the work
He then explains each right “The first right allows the owner to reproduce the work by any means. The scope of this right can be hard to define, especially when it involves photocopying, microfiche, videotape, and the like. Under the Copyright Act of 1976, others may reproduce protected works only if such reproduction involves either a fair or exempted use as defined by the Act, which will be discussed later in this chapter.”.
In the chapter on Governmental Licenses and Restrictions, Duboff outlines restrictions on photographing governmental items, like the Presidential Seal, Smoky the Bear and currency. He also discusses photography on public property “The federal government also prohibits the commercial exploitation of photographs of federal land without express permission”.
The appendices offer the reader reference to case law, sample forms, pointers to photographic organizations and tips for selecting an attorney.
The book is well written and covers subjects in a clear and concise manner. However, as mentioned earlier, the book is not a substitute for proper legal advice.
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